New Website: “How to Digitally Archive and Share Historical Photographs, Documents, and Audio Recordings”

Information was sent to the AIC office on a relatively new website Preserving History: How to Digitally Archive and Share Historical Photographs, Documents, and Audio Recordings that provides practical, technical guidelines for creating archival digital files for historical photographs, documents, and audio recordings. The site describes methods and workflow for preparing the master files for presentation and covers the use of inexpensive consumer technology as well as more expensive professional technology, addressing the  cost benefits of the different levels products. The website is aimed at historical organizations, families, and individuals, and should be particularly useful for anyone working with budget limitations.

The topics covered include:

  • The value of preserving original historical items and using good digital copies.
  • Digitization “best practices” developed by museums, archives, and libraries and less expensive, less complicated “good practices” that may be acceptable for some archive projects;
  • Strengths and weaknesses of five common scanning software programs and specific workflow, steps, and settings for using the software to create archival images;
  • Use of the consumer level Photoshop Elements software and professional level Photoshop CS when creating master archival images and for preparing images for presentation;
  • Use of the consumer level Nero WaveEditor software and the higher level Adobe Audition software for preparing recordings for presentation;
  • Suggestions, workflow and settings for creating historical slide shows using consumer level and more advanced slide show software;
  • Copyrights and related legal rights with attention to pivotal provisions for historical items including inheritance of copyrights and the fundamental change in copyright ownership for professional photographs before and after 1978;
  • Technical information and recommendations on color management, effective resolution of scanners, using copy stands with cameras, and batch processing of images.

James Kennedy, the site’s creator first began working with historical items over 12 years ago after retiring from a career that spanned non-profit organizations, government, academics, and industry, working with involved data analysis and systems analysis, programming, and management for data processing systems. While his initial interest was family history, his work soon expanded to include developing digital archives and displays of historical information about a small Amish/ Mennonite town.

He remembers useful technical information and guidelines were difficult to find when he first started out. Meeting with the digitization group at the Denver Public Library was a breakthrough for sorting out the inconsistent opinions and for finding reliable information about appropriate digitization practices. However, extensive study of manuals and trial-and-error learning was still required to actually apply the practices with the various technology and software.  Hopefully this site will provide useful information for small institutions and historical societies as they begin tackling their own digitization projects.

For more information visit

One thought on “New Website: “How to Digitally Archive and Share Historical Photographs, Documents, and Audio Recordings””

  1. I’ve checked website recommended, and I have to admit it’s a great resource! Especially that part about cheaper ‘good practices’ for archivisation.

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